Continuing Education Credits, Registration, and Testing for Paid Tax Return Preparers

With the advent of the new IRS regulations requiring Continuing Education, Registration, and Testing for Paid Tax Return Preparers, TaxSlayer Pro wants to help you simplify the entire process. Below are a few guidelines and reminders:

Continuing Education Credits
Tax preparers who are not EAs, CPAs, or attorneys must take 15 hours of continuing education beginning in 2012. This education must include 3 hours of federal tax law updates, 2 hours of ethics, and 10 hours of other federal tax topics.

If you become initially registered after January 31, you must take one hour of continuing education for each month (or part of a month) that you are registered. You must take 2 hours of ethics regardless of when you become registered.

Tax preparers may not use the title “Registered Tax Return Preparer” until they have met all the conditions described above, including passing the competency exam and a background check.

As we already know, the IRS is requiring all paid preparers to register and obtain a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). Those preparers who are not CPAs, Enrolled Agents (EAs), or attorneys must also pass a competency exam and maintain continuing education.

All paid preparers will be required to register and obtain a PTIN before they can prepare returns for compensation, regardless of whether you sign the return or not. The PTIN must be renewed annually and expires on December 31st of each year. (The renewal period will begin in October of each year.)

All preparers who have obtained a Provisional PTIN before April 18, 2012, will have until December 31, 2013 to pass the RTRP competency test. Once the April 18th date passes, paid preparers will not be issued a PTIN until they have passed the competency exam and background check.

There will be one exam that will test Form 1040 preparation, and unfortunately, the IRS will not provide sample questions. You won’t be allowed to bring your own reference materials to the exam, but the testing site will provide copies of Publication 17 and 1040 instructions to use for the test.

To schedule an appointment to take the competency exam, you must log into your online PTIN account on

As we complete the 2014 tax filing season, TaxSlayer Pro will be updating its RTRP Review Course to reflect 2011 tax law. Study for your RTRP exam and receive 10 hours of CPE Credit at the same time.

In addition to the online RTRP test review, TaxSlayer Pro will provide the courses you need to complete your Continuing Education obligations, including the Ethics requirement.

Considering the effort that it now takes to become and to maintain the status of Registered Tax Return Preparer, it’s more important than ever to choose a software provider that will help you every step of the way.

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